Superprotect

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On 2014-08-10, the Wikimedia Foundation added a 'superprotect' right – granted to the 'staff' global user group – which can make pages uneditable even for administrators, hence creating a new hierarchy where administrators are no longer the most trusted users of our wikis. The technical feature was removed in November 2015, but the Wikimedia Foundation has not substantially addressed the reasoning that went into its deployment, or what conditions might prompt similar efforts in the future.

The first use of 'superprotect' (on the same day) was to prevent German Wikipedia administrators from using MediaWiki:Common.js, where the mw:MediaViewer had been deactivated in a wheel war involving two administrators and a WMF staffer. Like on English Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons, the German Wikipedia had decided to turn off this feature by default. The Wikimedia Foundation rejected the decision on 2014-08-09 and the community was discussing what to do.

Rather than put the MediaViewer feature back into Beta, so that users can optionally enable it if they find it beneficial, WMF enforced its deployment of this software to all readers, with threats of removing users' administrative privileges on English Wikipedia, and now preventing this script from being altered by administrators on German Wikipedia.

On 2014-08-27 Wikimedia Foundation removed superprotection from the page, but left the superprotect right and the state of Media Viewer unchanged.

On 2015-11-05, the Wikimedia Foundation removed the Superprotect right from all Wikimedia wikis.[1] Executive Director Lila Tretikov stated:

We wanted to remove Superprotect. Superprotect set up a precedent of mistrust, and this is something it was really important for us to remove, to at least come back to the baseline of a relationship where we're working together, we're one community, to create a better process. To make sure we can move together faster, and to make sure everybody is part of that process, everybody is part of that conversation, and not just us at the Wikimedia Foundation." [1]

For more:

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See also[edit]

Media coverage[edit]

Blog coverage[edit]

  • Mike Linksvayer, a Wikipedian and former Vice President of Creative Commons, mentioned Superprotect in the context of governance and community dynamics, May 2015: Democratizing Wikimedia Innovation

In Wikipedia[edit]

References[edit]

  1. WMF Product development process, 05. November 2015